Archive for Saturday, May 24, 2008

Small town has big plate of entertainment offerings

May 24, 2008

— While best known for the Maple Leaf Festival, a fall tradition dating back 50 years, there are plenty of more events and reasons to make a trip to Baldwin.

Every third full weekend in October, close to 40,000 people make the trek to Baldwin City for the festival, which offers a wide variety of family fun, great food and hundreds of craft booths to view.

But, the community has a host of events that range from historical to educational, but mostly just plain fun. Making the city even more of a draw is the many offerings Baker University, the oldest university in the state at 150 years, provides.

"We invite you to experience what Baldwin City has to offer," said Susan Baker, Chamber of Commerce spokesman. "Stop by the Chamber of Commerce information center at the corner of Eighth and High streets and pick up area travel information or call ahead and we'll help you plan your day trip."

A majority of the community's events are in June, although the celebration of the Battle of Black Jack, which historians point to as the first armed skirmish of the Civil War, will be slightly early this year.

"Our summer begins with tours and a campfire supper at the Black Jack Battlefield on May 31 and Day Out With Thomas June 6-8 and June 13-15," said Baker.

Thomas the Tank Engine is a PBS television cartoon that has come to life for the past seven years on the Midland Railway tracks. About 40,000 people attend the two-weekend stop. But, there's more to June.

"June 14 features our annual Father's Day festival - Planes, Trains and Automobiles," she said.

Baldwin also stages an annual Community Fireworks Display on the Fourth of July. There's also another premier family event, the Vinland Fair, which turned 100 years old last year. It's the first week in August and features the best home-style cooking around, including homemade pies that can't be beat.

There are historic places to visit year around, including the Midland Railway that has old-time excursion train rides. Baker University offers the Clarice Osborne Memorial Chapel, which was moved here stone by stone from England, and the Quayle Rare Bible Collection on campus.

Baker also provides educational and entertainment events from September through May with its Artist and Lecture Series.

For more information, contact the Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce at (785) 594-3200 or visit its Web site at, the city's Web site at, Baker's Web site at or the Baldwin City Signal's Web site,


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